Here’s an extract from Anthony Robbin’s book Unlimited Power:
How do we create rapport? We do it by creating or discovering things in common. There are many ways to create commonality with another person and thus a state of rapport. The most common way to match others is through the exchange of information about each other through words. However, studies have shown that only 7 percent of what is communicated between people is transmitted through the words themselves. Thirty eight percent comes through the tone of voice. Fifty five percent of communication, the largest part, is a result of physiology or body language. The facial expressions, the gestures, the quality and type of movements of the person delivering a communication provides us with much more about what they’re saying than the words do by themselves.
So if we are just trying to create rapport merely by the content of our conversation, we’re missing out on the largest ways we could be communicating commonality to the brain of another person. One of the best ways to achieve rapport is through mirroring or creating a common physiology with that person.
That’s what the great hypnotherapist Dr. Milton Erickson did. He learned to mirror the breathing patterns, posture, tonality, and gestures of other people. And by doing that, he achieved rapport in a matter of minutes. People who did not know him suddenly trusted him without question. So if you can develop rapport with just words, think of the incredible power of rapport you can develop with words and physiology linked together.
While the words are working on a person’s conscious mind, the physiology is working on the unconscious. That’s where the brain is thinking, Hey, this person’s like me. He must be okay. And once that happens, there’s tremendous attraction, a tremendous bond. And because it’s unconscious, it’s even more effective.
So how do you mirror another person’s physiology? What kinds of physical traits can you mirror? Start with his voice. Mirror his tonality and phrasing, his pitch, how fast he talks, what sort of pauses he makes, his volume. Mirror favorite phrases and words. How about posture and breathing patterns, or eye contact, body language, facial expressions, hand gestures, or other distinctive movements? Any aspect of physiology, from a way a person plants his feet to the way he tilts his head, is something you can mirror. Now, this may sound absurd at first.
What if you could mirror everything about another person? Do you know what happens? People feel as though they’ve found their soulmate, someone who totally understands, who can read their deepest thoughts, who is just like them. But you don’t have to mirror everything about a person to create a state of rapport. If you just start with the tone of voice or a similar facial expression, you can learn to build incredible rapport with anyone.
When a person mirrors someone’s physiology, he’s able to experience not only the same state, but also the same sort of internal experiences and even the same thoughts. Now, what if you could do that in your daily life? What if you became such a skillful mirrorer that you could know what someone else was thinking? What sort of rapport would you have then, and what could you do with it? It’s an awesome thing to contemplate, but professional communicators do it all the time. Mirroring is a skill like any other. It takes practice to develop. However, you can use it right now and get results.